[Apple iSlate Event Invite]

First, what’s it’s actual name?
Second, how much will it cost and will a subsidized by a cell carrier?
Finally, if I can buy it through a cell carrier, can I make calls on it?

Beyond those three questions, everything really doesn’t matter at this point. Every sign points to the fact that the tablet will be “honey I blew up the iPhone/Touch.” And that’s not a bad thing at all. Essentially Apple’s been working on a tablet since the release of the Touch and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or the UI. It would be shocking if the UI/experience stunk. The name though… that could possibly stink.

Price, though… that’s critical. The question really is how much and it costs and whether or not we can get it subsidized (via a cell company). It seems to me that Apple would be making a huge mistake if they actually release it at $1000. The current rumors of ~$400 (with a contract) to ~$700 (unlocked and unsubsidized) are far more sensible. Anything much more than that and the tablet would suffer from “I paid between $99 & $299 for my iPhone. I know this slate is bigger and badder, but $1000??!!!” The similarities (form and function) between the iPhone & the iSlate would be far too close to allow for any significant pricing disparity (at least if they want it to be a success). For more on the reasons for this, see the last few posts.

Beyond the name and price, we pretty much know what it will do (again, it’s a big iPhone). It will handle apps, it might have a second video camera (not a big thing, internationally many smartphones have a second camera). What will be worth watching is if it can make calls on a traditional cell network (as opposed to internet calling) and if it’s optimized to use a headset (bluetooth or tethered). The reason that the question of telephony is worth asking is if it can be used as a phone, then it may be a step towards a re-conceiving of what a cell phone is and how one works. It may also have an effect on whether upcoming Android slates will incorporate calling.

One more thought on price: it will be interesting to see Apple can sustain the rumored $12.99-14.99 for a book. Stanza will have prepared part of the intended audience (hmm, hopefully you’ll be able to take your books across device). That said, it may be tough sell when compared to Amazon and B&N’s eBook pricing.

Either way we’ll know in a few hours.

Oh, my twitter friends remind me that there is a fourth question: whether or not it will cure cancer while taking on Chuck Norris in a fight to the death.

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2010/01/top.jpg[Apple iSlate Announcement